As a research engineer at MIT D-Lab, Eric Verploegen built expertise in technology evaluation, development, dissemination, and user research, in off-grid settings. For the past eight years, he has focused on evaporative cooling technologies for fruit and vegetable preservation in regions with hot and dry climates. These underutilized technologies have the potential to provide improved shelf-life for nutritious foods, reducing food loss and saving community members precious time and money. CoolVeg was founded in 2022 to increase access to and adoption of these technologies through collaborations with businesses, research institutions, NGOs, and government agencies.
Dr. Eric Verploegen is a materials scientist and international development professional who focuses on working with off-grid communities to implement affordable and scalable post-harvest storage solutions for fruits and vegetables.
Eric worked at MIT D-Lab from 2014 to 2023 as an instructor and principal investigator on numerous global development projects. Eric led research studies related to evaporative cooling technologies for fruit and vegetable preservation, working with collaborators in 6 countries across Africa and South Asia. In addition to producing research publications, his team developed a training program for the wide dissemination of clay pot coolers and an innovative design for a forced-air evaporative cooling chamber. His work has been featured in MIT News, Engineering for Change, Agrilinks, Next Billion, and at the MIT Museum.
Prior to MIT D-Lab, Eric was a Senior Research Scientist at Soane Energy developing chemical and mechanical oilfield waste management technologies. Eric has a Bachelor of Science in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Polymer Science and Technology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eric continued his Postdoctoral studies at Stanford University working on organic electronics for renewable energy applications. At the same time, he completed a certificate program in innovation and entrepreneurship from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.